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VeriSM™ is the conductor. The roles implementing this will be in the orchestra pit - from the CEO down. 

VeriSM™ – what, why and why now?

Before I started work in IT in 1985, I did 3 years in a clerical role. My job and that of most of the people around me, was entirely paper based. My Parker pen was my only mobile device. In those days, most organisations were looking at IT largely to automate existing paper based processes and were spending quite a lot of money in that endeavour.

IT, it has to be said, was seen, to some degree, as a financial black hole: consuming more and more of the annual business spend per year but delivering, at best, incremental improvements, projects that overran and over spent, IT systems that never fully matched the customer need as well as IT departments that seemed remote, uninterested and unresponsive.

It was against this background that the earliest Service Management process frameworks, such as ITIL® and PRINCE2®, emerged.  Recognising the need for the IT department to become more professional and business focused, ITIL, initially as a series of topic specific small books (Service Level Management, Incident Management etc), effectively positioned IT as a business within a business – promoting the idea that IT departments provide services to customers and should manage the relationship accordingly. Subsequent iterations of ITIL have focused on achieving ever closer integration with the business while maintaining that relationship of “service provider” and “customer”.

However, the pace of change has been frenetic and is accelerating.  Digital transformation is profoundly changing the way society and commerce works. Businesses no longer view IT as a necessary evil. We’re not automating paper based processes any more – we’re inventing new ways of working. In many cases, technology has transformed the way the organisation interacts and transacts with its customers to the extent that IT has become part of the DNA of the business.

Consider a modern day parable for our times.  At one time, high street rental store Blockbuster ruled the VHS & DVD rental world. At the height of its success, a small company called Netflix, made a partnership proposal to Blockbuster which was refused. The business masters of Blockbuster simply did not fully appreciate the business implications of the technology changes that were happening around them. You cannot help but feel that there must have been an opportunity at some point for someone from IT to stand up in front of the business and say, “Let me explain this thing called the internet and what it could do for our company…”.

Also, Blockbuster was not putting its customer first - it earned an enormous amount of money by charging its customers late fees, which had become an important part of Blockbuster’s revenue model. The Netflix subscription model did away with this feature.

Netflix proved to be a very disruptive innovation. Blockbuster went bankrupt in 2010 whereas Netflix is now a $84 billion dollar company.

If a draft version of the VeriSM manual had been available in 2000, Blockbuster might have avoided their disaster. VeriSM is an approach to Service Management that takes it out of the IT department and elevates it to an enterprise level. Within VeriSM, IT is no longer seen as a business within a business – it is simply one of the many and various organisational capabilities (along with Sales, Marketing, Logistics, Finance… etc) that contribute to the design, development and delivery of customer centric services that that optimise the service transaction enhancing customer experience, satisfaction and loyalty.

An overarching management approach

VeriSM helps organizations to define an overarching service management model to use all of their organizational capabilities, from IT to marketing, finance to customer service, to deliver value. The VeriSM concept of a management mesh would ensure that the organisation is fully aware of opportunities and threats arising from new technology developments. 

The ever-increasing dependency of business on IT, the urgency of change and the evolving nature of IT technology and service provision has led in recent years to an emergence of many approaches and methodologies (Lean IT, Scrum, DevOps, SAF, SIAM etc) all tackling different aspects of the challenge of digital transformation.

VeriSM is not another service management framework.

All of the approaches described above have value, and many of them can be used side-by-side, but, as with all frameworks, they need to be used thoughtfully and appropriately with a clear line of sight back to the achievement of enterprise goals and objectives. VeriSM describes a flexible, overarching Service Management model that allows an organisation to fully exploit all of its internal capabilities and resources through the concept of a “management mesh” - a method to manage and use the multitude of resources and capabilities, technologies, frameworks and  standards available to the organisation – internally or externally.

As Stephan Brendel, APMG Business Development Manager for the EMEA region says "Think of VeriSM™ as the conductor of the orchestra – a currently discordant array of Service Management methodologies, frameworks, tools and practices can be managed to create a harmonious symphony".

VeriSM is not another service management framework.

Fig 1. VeriSM E10 Service Culture includes Empathy, Excellence, Empowerment, Engagement, Easy to deal with, Everyone, Environment, Experience, Encouragement, Effectiveness

An organisation, for example, may provide very dynamic, web-based services which require frequent and fast updates lending itself to an agile, cloud-based approach. At the same time it may provide services requiring a more rigorous change management and release planning and control approach. VeriSM facilitates the development of the organisational  principles and practices that serve as the “guardrails” for service design and development ensuring that the appropriate approach, or mix of a approaches, is selected.

The business organisation and IT department no longer stand in a customer / service provider relationship - we are all part of the same enterprise, all striving to achieve enterprise goals and objectives. Service Management is the responsibility of every element of the organisation and needs to be considered, designed and implemented at an enterprise level.

The Verism authors say that they are starting a conversation with the service management community and the wider community of service consumers. VeriSM will grow and develop with the community and the VeriSM content will grow and develop in response to feedback. It promises to be an interesting discussion!

Mark Flynn qualified in ITIL in 1993. He is an APMG Service Management Assessor and is Director of Felix Maldo Ltd, an IT Service Management training and consultancy organisation.

ITIL® and PRINCE2® are registered trade marks of AXELOS Limited


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